World History of Civilizations

Updated June 27, 2021

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World History of Civilizations essay

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Agriculture was a major development in human civilization. It allowed for greater food yields, saving food for hard times, spending time doing things other than hunting, and larger cities. It was the biggest factor in major cities and empires. The development of writing was also important because it allowed for education, better government, and recorded history. Hunting and gathering societies organize rather small groups into political units. The paleolithic age refers to simple stone tools. A characteristic of humans before the advent of civilizations was spreading to various climates.

Agriculture changed all except polytheism. The Neolithic revolution first occurred in the Middle East. The biggest difference between the classical age and the river valley civilization was political organization being more complicated. Harappan civilization extended throughout Present-day Pakistan and Northwest India. The remains of java men were discovered in Indonesia. All of the following were characteristics of early civilizations except democratic government. The main feature of civilization is the development of cities. Prehistoric time ended with the development of written language.

In China, an isolated yet creative set of empires emerged. The Shang Dynasty was the first. After the Shang came the Qin, who built the Great Wall of China. Han, the third, was the last for this time period. Han China’s bureaucracy tried to solve its political problems, disloyalty, and corruption. Its location made it very remote, less susceptible to attacks, and isolated its culture, essentially forcing it to develop on its own.

The development of agriculture greatly contributed to China being able to be isolated; it could sustain large groups of people in isolation indefinitely. In fact, China never fell because of starvation or lack of food; it only fell from governmental failures. Han Wudi forcefully divided vassal lands. Shi, or “Men of Service”, were professional bureaucrats who had served Zhou rulers. The Silk Road linked China with the West. The Chinese concept of “Mandate of Heaven was sometimes used to justify rebellion.

Under legalism, the only way to achieve order was to pass strict laws and use harsh punishment. The Great Wall allowed China’s resources to be mobilized. Compared to China, India gave stronger rule to merchants. Confucian and Hindu values both helped justify and preserve social inequality. Confucianism and Daoism offered answers to societal problems during the times of disruption.

In India, its civilization was much more connected to other cultures and influences, as opposed to China. It had major contributions in art, philosophy, science, technology, math, architecture, and commerce. It supported one of the world’s largest populations. Buddhism, which came from India, was a hugely widespread religion. Confucian and Hindu values both helped justify and preserve social inequality. Confucianism and Daoism offered answers to societal problems during the times of disruption.

The end of the Gupta empire differed from the fall of Rome because it didn’t involve a new religion. Bodhisattva belongs to Buddhism. Aryan conquerors brought distinctive religious beliefs to India. Hinduism blended their beliefs with an animistic pantheon of many gods. Hinduism pushed Buddhism out of India. Hindu beliefs best survived the Hun invasions of India. A single person did not found Hinduism. Hindu ethics involved an emphasis on an individual carrying out their obligations in life.

We can learn a lot about the daily life under the Gupta rulers from cave paintings at Ajanta. India’s trading network involved direct contact with all of the following except Russia. “The way to overcome non-virtue is to fast” is not one of the four noble truths of Buddha. 2 Factors that have the greatest effect on the climate of India are the high temperature and the seasonal winds and rain. A central message of the Bhagavad Gita is that one must carry out the duties that come with one’s caste.

Greece and Rome were major civilizations. Its economy mainly stemmed from its grape and olive farming. Trade was a big part of their civilizations. In both, however, slavery caused stagnation in agriculture, with few new innovations, similar to India. Farmers could not compete with labor with only an upfront cost. After Rome split, no civilization united it ever again. The Eastern part of the Roman empire thrived even after the Western part collapsed, as opposed to China, where empires fell more unilaterally. Greece and Rome were broken into city-states, locally. Both had rulers in history.

Greece ended up with a democracy; Rome grew to an empire with a single ruler. Rome cultivated Christianity, a major world religion. The Persian wars came first, then Athen’s golden age, then the Peloponnesian wars, then the Hellenistic age. Songhai emerged after Mali, whose capital was at Gao. Persian wars, Athen’s golden age, Peloponnesian wars, Hellenistic age is the correct order. All of the following encouraged Greek unity except for the geography of Greece. Constantine tried to use Christianity to strengthen Rome. The senate of republican Rome particularly represented the land aristocracy. Both ancient Rome and Greece depended on slavery.

One result of this is both lagged in technological advances compared to China and India. The Peloponnesian war ended the Athenian dominance of the Greek world. The Roman empire insisted that all inhabitants become Roman citizens. The Socratic method emphasized the importance of questioning. Persian politics in the age of Cyrus the Great was known for its cultural tolerance and demographic tendencies. Greek city-states were similar in that they all had a small size, small population, and a public meeting place.

During the empire, the Roman legal system contributed to the downfall of Rome. The assassination of Julius Caesar was not related to the fall of Rome. The Roman Empire tolerated local, political, and religious diversity. Republican Romans and Democratic Athenians would have agreed all of the following were politically important except division of powers within the state.

Rome’s decline was caused by many factors. Christianity grew out of Rome. A decline in morals and public health contributed. Water was not very reliable. Political corruption was also responsible for Rome’s decline. Both Han China and Rome had disease and foreign invaders, but China stayed strong thanks to the Sui dynasty. However, unlike China, Rome was no longer united, but split. There are many similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. Members of both religions are monotheistic. However, in Buddhism, reincarnation is the afterlife. Christianity, eternity is spent in Heaven or Hell.

Both stress compassion and ethical living. Both Christianity and Hinduism have a single god. Both have scriptures. The goal of Christianity is to love God and obey his commandments. The goal of Hinduism is to break the reincarnation cycle of life and death. Following the fall of Rome, Italy, particularly Rome was the center of the post-classical west. The end of the Gupta empire differed from the end of the Roman empire because it did not involve the introduction of a new religion. The group in control of Jerusalem at the time of the crusade was the Seljuk Turks.

The spread of Islam was a major development in the Middle East; it became a major religion similar to Christianity in Rome. Islam was able to appeal to people of so many different cultures by conquering empires and allowing lower taxes for those who converted. Many voluntarily converted because of the strong sense of unity within the religion. The essential dispute over Islam was whether Ali who was Muhammad’s son in law should be a Caliph, which was the dispute.

The Abbasids considered Mawali as equals, the government was a bureaucracy, had public work projects, and founded on conversion. Umayyads discriminated the Mawali, had a dynasty, and ignored Muhammad’s simple lifestyle. Pre-Islam women were respected for their wisdom, and were part of the society more than Abbasid women who wore veils and were ostracized. Both periods gave women right to property, inheritance, divorce, and remarriage.

In early Islamic communities, women were pledged active rule. The Muslims that believe that a person, called an imam, should lead the church and state are from Shi’ism. The principle advantage of the islamic concept of the umma was that it transcended old tribal boundaries and made possible political unity among arab clans. The Umayyad caliphate ruled from their capital, Damascus. The group in control of Jerusalem at the time of the crusade was the Seljuk Turks.

Once Islam was established as a major religion, it had a very wide area of influence, similar to Christianity. One of the reasons for political disruption in the Abbasid empire before the Buyids was rebellious governors and outside dynasties. Peasants and slaves revolted, women’s power and influence decreased further from when Islam was still spreading, and the economy was very bad.

The economy in the Late Abbasid empire was not good. Caliphs lived luxuriously, civil violence wasted money. Caliphs wasted money on new imperial centers, and oppressive taxes were forced on peasants. The religious trends of the Abbasid empire had an impact on Islam expansion. In the Abbasid era, arabs and non arabs were integrated. Converts were welcomed; most converted peacefully. Islam also spread through trade. The muslim incursions into India resulted in Islamic influences on Hindus.

It resulted in Islam gaining some Hindu/Buddhist practices. The Sufis gained large following and helped expand Islam. Muslims accepted Hindus. The group in control of Jerusalem at the time of the crusade was the Seljuk Turks. Harun al-Rashid was NOT 23 at the time he ruled. The Ulama stressed increasingly restrictive conservatism within Islam, particularly about sciences.

Islam spread very far, even into Africa, through common trade routes, similar to Christianity’s spread. Common elements of African society prior to the incursion of Islam included stateless societies throughout Africa being tribal. Clan organizations, local languages, an Animist religion, religious quality of land, stressing ancestors, and trade were other common elements of African society prior to the incursion of Islam.

Sub-Saharan africa was converted primarily by merchants and traders, not by conquest, or by the sword. It spread through the Atlantic ocean, the Sahel, and the Indian ocean. Sudanic states had councils of elders, tax from conquested states. The Swahili coast had trade cities, a single language, and exported finer resources for products from Persia and China. Similarities between the political forms of the African states not affected by Islam (Yoruba, Benin, Kongo, Zimbabwe) with those that were (Sudanic states, Swahili coast) include small groups of people controlling small districts.

Differences are that non-influenced states lacked connection through Africa; they had no long distance trade routes, while states influenced by Islam had them. Given the geographical location of those African states most affected by Islam, the most important points of contact between African societies were the Trans-Saharan trade route, the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean sea. The group in control of Jerusalem at the time of the crusade was the Seljuk Turks. The Songhai Kingdom emerged after Mali, whose capital was at Gao. Many sub-saharan societies were divided into kingdoms. North Africa was first converted to Islam by 700 AD. Ethiopia remained Christian and fiercely independent.

Following the decline of Songhai, smaller states developed east of Mali among the Hausa people. The nature of trade for towns of east Africa was international trade flourishing in urbanized ports of East Africa, with commerce to India and China. Bantu-based and Arabic-influenced Swahili language was the common cultural trait of the urbanized trading ports of East Coast Africa. ALthough at the height of its power in the 10th century, Ghana began to decline until it was eclipsed by other states by early 13th century.

Out of the Eastern Roman empire came the Byzantine empire; it was a direct effect of the Roman empire. The Eastern half of Europe developed faster because of its proximity to other civilizations and capital movement. The west was neglected to tribes, and when Rome fell, the west did not grow into a seperate empire, as opposed to the East into the Byzantine. The Byzantine empire had a direct connection to the Roman empire.

The Emperor in the Byzantine empire had absolute power, and headed state and church. The ruling was centralized. This gave the emperor immense power. One cause of the decline of the Byzantine empire was the East/West split; even though the Byzantine empire came from the Eastern Roman empire, it was still affected by the split. One of the ways the culture of Kievan Russia is an extension of the Byzantine empire is that Slavs intermarried with local Russians.

The Byzantine Empire spread culture and religion to Kievan Russia. They shared language and literature. “Bureaucrats had limited education and ability” concerning the Byzantine bureaucracy is NOT accurate. The reconquest of Gaul was not one of Justinian’s positive contributions to the Byzantines. A major factor in the spread of eastern orthodoxy was the development of the Cyrillic alphabet.

The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Manorialism was a political, economic, and social system in which peasants worked land for their lord in exchange for military protection. The peasant was treated as a slave and was bound by law to stay. Manorialism was an economic and political relation between a lord and peasant laborers. Serfs got protection and administration from landlords and had to work lands and give profits.

Feudalism was a relation among military elite during the Middle Ages; greater lords provided protection to lesser lords in return for military. Some characteristics of feudal monarchy as demonstrated in France and England between 1000 and 1300 included the inhibition of development of central states. Another characteristic is reducing local warfare. The theological outlook of western Europe changed between 1000 and 1400 when universities and monasteries helped bring about different philosophical ideas from Greece and Rome that focused on individuals instead of church.

Some developments that led to increases in monarchic power at the end of the Middle Ages included small national armies, growth of trained bureaucracies, tax, laws, and courts. Some of the limits on royal authority included churches being able to excommunicate kings, limit courts, parliament, gaining the right to approve tax, and aristocrats demanding reciprocal authority. The most unifying factor for western Europe during the postclassical period was Christianity. One characteristic of feudalism was land being exchanged for military service and obligations.

An increase of commerce and trade in the Middle Ages increased growth of towns and cities. Developing a strong imperial government was NOT a positive development introducing new sources of strength by the 9th and 10th centuries to western Europe. All of the following were functions of the merchant and artisan guilds EXCEPT ensuring a free market economy. The fourth crusade was manipulated by merchants in Venice, who turned it into an attack on Constantinople. In the 12th century, Peter Abelard, the parisian scholar, wrote “Yes and No”.

The Magna Carta was important to the development of democracy because it limited the amount of power the monarch had. The Seljuk Turks, Mongols, and Crusaders ALL invaded the Middle East and affected its culture. All of the following were European invaders during the late 800’s-early 900’s in Europe EXCEPT the Mongols. The political system that developed in France differed from that of England in which there were few limits on royal authority. Decentralized government was common to both european and Japanese Feudalism.

Mesoamerica was home to the Aztecs and the Toltecs. The Aztecs continued the culture of the classical Mesoamerican civilization and the Toltecs by adopting features from sedentary agriculture, processes from Aztecs, and militaristic culture. This was adopted from the Aztecs’ view on military. The Aztecs followed strict social hierarchy with nobels, commoners, and serfs. Noble class had priests and lords.

Priests couldn’t drink and could be punished by death. Noble status passed on through families. Both the Aztecs and the Incas were ruled by an emperor. People had to pay tribute. Military groups helped expansion. The Aztecs were more open to trade, but the Incas leaned toward agriculture. The Incas tried to integrate their empire as a unit more than the Incas. Indian cultures outside of Andean and Mesoamerican civilizations had similar relationships based on sedentary agriculture.

They were strongly kin-based and hunter-gatherer. Human sacrifice was used to please the gods because human life was needed to nourish them. It was used for political reasons for their enemies. 16. Patron god of Aztecs, unifying focus for Aztec Kingdom was the Huitzilopochtli. By 600 CE, an early civilization was beginning to take shape in Central America. Chinampas played an important role because they allowed for a high level of agricultural productivity.

Historians believe “a cult of the dead based on split inheritance that required new emperors to conquer new lands” was the primary reason for Inca conquest expansion. One difference that contrasts the commercial and economic activities of the Aztecs and Incas is that unlike the Aztecs, Incas contained almost no merchant class due to state regulation.

China evolved much after the first dynasties, the Shang, the Qin, and the Han dynasty. During the Sui-Tang era, they unified all of China and spread out to the west and to Korea. During division, Buddhist influence was strong and diminished during the Sui-Tang era by restoration of Confucian scholar-gentry class. Buddhism declined in the later Tang era from attacks on their religion by envious Daoist and Confucian rivals.

Then, during the 9th century, Emperor Wuzong openly persecuted Buddhism and destroyed monasteries for Confucianism. During the Song dynasty, there was a revival of Confucian ideas and values through the prominent scholar-gentry class. In the Tang and Song dynasties, trade improved and poetry and art flourished. They broke up estates of the old aristocracy and distributed land among peasants. The Tang dynasty controlled lots of land, far more than the Song. They had less trouble with the northern nomadic people. An element of the Tang and Song dynasty’s prosperity was the canals built by the Yangdi, especially the Grand Canal.

They could now transport grain and food to the North from the prosperous south. The Chinese junk ships were the best in the world at the time, and with active merchants and sailors, Chinese trade grew. The use of flying money decreased the chance of robbery. During the Tang/Song dynasties, they both incorporated northern China into the economy, which became a major center and produced food. The Grand Canal helped population grow in the North.

Paper money was printed for the first time in the world in China. The support of nomadic warrior elites made the re-unification of China under the first Sui emperor possible. The primary reform enacted during the reign of the first Sui emperor created granaries to relieve the threat of famine. Unlike his father, the second Sui emperor favored the Confucian scholar-gentry class. Li Yuan was the founder of the Tang dynasty.

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